June 8 2020
HAMILTON, ON – Today, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Mayors and Chairs pledged to support the continued reopening of the Ontario economy and stressed the need for emergency support for municipalities.
The regional re-opening approach announced today by the Province will help ensure the GTHA is able to re-open safely. Mayors and Chairs across the region are working to ensure services are ready to re-open, when local public health conditions allow, and look forward to further collaboration with the Province on Stage 2. We appreciate the Province's sensitivity to regional concerns.
Municipalities have been on the frontlines of responding to COVID-19 – fighting the pandemic has led to billions of dollars in revenue losses and additional costs for cities and towns big and smaller.
While the Government of Canada has pledged some support through its Safe-Restart Agreement, this funding relies on continued negotiations with the provinces that have yet to be successfully completed.
We urgently need the Province to act now to pledge money for Ontario municipalities, and to conclude an agreement with the federal government on sustainable funding for cities. On June 1, Premier Doug Ford said: “I have committed to come to the table and help these municipalities and we will." Now in light of last week's first move by the federal government, cities and towns across Ontario need to know what contribution the Province will make to assisting with their financial crises.
Municipalities across the GTHA need this support as soon as possible – especially as we move to open up more municipal services as part of Phase 2. This is not just a Toronto problem – the financial implications of COVID-19 will hit all municipalities hard including Brampton, Mississauga, Markham, Vaughan, and Hamilton, and indeed cities and towns across Ontario.
The GTHA is the economic powerhouse of Canada, which led the country before COVID-19 and will be absolutely crucial in leading the economic recovery.
We urge the provincial government, under the leadership of Premier Ford, and the federal government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to sit down and negotiate an agreement which will result in immediate action to help municipalities. The time for action is now – just as all governments have moved with lightning speed to respond to the threat of COVID-19 and to assist other groups and individuals, they must move now to stabilize municipal finances so we can all focus on leading the greatest economic restart in the history of Canada.